Gators, McElwain owe $5 million; CSU gets $2 million guarantee game


And now we’re learning the rest of the story.  Reportedly.

Just a short time ago, multiple media outlets reported that Florida had overcome Jim McElwain‘s $7.5 million buyout hurdle and tapped the Colorado State head coach for the same job at UF.  The Gators subsequently confirmed McElwain’s hiring via social media, with an introductory press conference scheduled for Saturday.

The university also confirmed that McElwain’s contract is six years in length and will average $3.5 million annually.  In 2014, McElwain earned $1.5 million in total pay.

What wasn’t known was whether the $7.5 million buyout, which had reportedly been the sticking point in the talks, was paid in full by UF or negotiated down.  As it turns out, it was the latter.

The school announced that it essentially has its new head football coach on the installment plan as it will pay CSU a total of $3 million over the next six years, while the Gators’ new coach will be responsible for paying another $2 million.  Finally, the Gators have guaranteed the Rams $2 million for a future game in Gainesville.

On the surface, it would seem to be a very significant win for Florida… and Colorado State as well.

Not only does UF “save” $2.5 million, but the athletic department avoids paying the entire $3 million it does owe upfront and at least partially into the future, with a portion of that presumably being paid after the SEC Network spigot begins to flow in earnest.  Additionally, they didn’t have to “buy” themselves a head coach by, as had been rumored, scheduling a road game in Fort Collins.

For CSU, they were going to lose their head coach regardless if a high-profile program really wanted him, so getting the $5 million from two parties plus the exposure that a game in Gainesville could potentially bring on the recruiting front in talent-rich Florida serves as a win-win.  Not only that, but getting a $2 million guarantee game is not exactly something to scoff at for a Group of Five program.

Just when that UF-CSU game in The Swamp will go off is unknown, though.  The Gators’ 2015 out-of-conference schedule is already full, while they have one opening each in 2016 and 2017.  The Rams, though, have a non-conference slate that’s full through 2016.  The first available dates would be 2017, although they already have games at Alabama and at Colorado scheduled for that season.

Therefore, barring a reshuffling of things on CSU’s part, 2018 might be the first season a Rams-Gators game could realistically be scheduled.

Incidentally, McElwain did meet with his players for roughly 10 minutes to inform them personally that he was taking the Florida job.  Unfortunately, giving how fast the news cycle spins these days, especially with social media, most had already found out via other means.

Athletic director Jeremy Foley released a statement addressing his latest hire and explaining, in part, the process that brought McElwain to Gainesville.

FCS school new home for 2017 four-star Texas RB Toneil Carter

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Nearly a month to the day that he announced he was leaving at an FBS program, Toneil Carter announced he’d landed at one at the FCS level.

On Twitter Tuesday, Carter confirmed that he will be continuing his collegiate playing career at Sam Houston State.  On Dec. 14, the running back confirmed on the same social media service that he had decided to transfer from Texas.

Carter was a four-star member of the Longhorns’ 2017 recruiting class, rated as the No. 10 back in the country and the No. 26 player at any position in the state of Texas.  After rushing for 252 yards and three touchdowns on 53 carries as a true freshman, Carter didn’t record a stat in 2018.

As the Bearkats play at the FCS level, Carter will be eligible to play in 2019.  Including this coming season, he’ll have three years of eligibility at his disposal.

K-State transfer QB who committed to UTEP now headed to TCU

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In the end, never mind.  Nothing to see here, at least when it comes to El Paso.

In late December, departing Kansas State quarterback Alex Delton announced via Twitter that he would be transferring to UTEP, whose head coach, Dana Dimel, is a former K-State offensive coordinator.  Tuesday night, however, Delton announced a “change of plans,” confirming via Twitter once again that he has instead decided to continue his collegiate playing career at TCU.

It’s unclear what led to Delton’s about-face on the Miners and decision to move on to the Horned Frogs, who have been considered a potential landing spot for Alabama transfer quarterback Jalen Hurts.

As Delton will join Gary Patterson’s program as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately for the Horned Frogs in 2019.  The upcoming season will be the dual-threat quarterback’s final year of eligibility.

In four years at K-State, Delton, the MVP of the 2017 Cactus Bowl, started six of the 20 games in which he played.  The Kansas native passed for 1,202 yards and ran for another 734 during his time in Little Manhattan.  He’s also accounted for 16 touchdowns — five passing, 11 rushing.

Transferring Ohio State QB Tate Martell tweets move to Miami

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With the going about to get tough in Columbus, Tate Martell is getting going to South Beach.

Very early Wednesday morning, Martell took to Twitter to announce that he has decided to transfer to Miami.  The move comes roughly six days after reports first surfaced that the quarterback’s name had been entered into the NCAA transfer database.

Martell’s move also comes not long after a high-profile transfer joined the Buckeyes’ quarterback room, a development that, at least publicly, didn’t concern Martell.

In the midst of all of the Justin Fields-to-Ohio State speculation, Martell, the presumptive heir to Dwayne Haskins‘ quarterback throne in Columbus, scoffed at speculation that he would transfer if Fields joined the Buckeyes.

Why would I leave for someone who hasn’t put a single second into this program? I have put two years of literally working my ass into something that I’ve been waiting for and a dream I’ve had my whole life. To just run away from somebody who hasn’t put in a single second in at winter workouts and doesn’t know what the program is all about? There’s not a chance.

Jan. 5, it was confirmed that Fields had transferred from Georgia to OSU.  Five days later, Martell has kicked off the process of high-tailing it out of Columbus to avoid what would’ve been a high-profile competition for the starting job, provided Fields is granted immediate eligibility as expected.

Martell was a four-star member of OSU’s 2017 recruiting class, rated as the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the country.  After redshirting as a true freshman, Martell threw for 269 yards and a touchdown on 23-of-28 passing this past season while also running for another 128 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries.

Because of NCAA transfer rules, it’s expected that Martell will have to sit out the 2019 season.  He would then have two years of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2020 season.

Jeff Thomas reneges on Illinois commitment, returns to Miami

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The saga that is Jeff Thomas has taken a couple of twists over the past couple of days, with the latest apparently leading him back to The U.

In late December, Illinois announced that Thomas had signed a financial aid agreement and would enroll at the university for the spring 2019 semester.  That move came a month or so after the talented wide receiver was dismissed by then-Miami head coach Mark Richt for unspecified reasons.

Richt, however, abruptly retired on Dec. 30 and was replaced by former UM defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, who had taken over as the head coach at Temple a couple of weeks earlier before abandoning the Owls.  The combination of Richt’s retirement and Diaz’s return apparently cracked the door on a future for Thomas with the Hurricanes as it was reported this past weekend that there was a possibility the receiver will return; that possibility, though, was seemingly snuffed out by Thomas himself yesterday.

“I’m on my way now,” Thomas told the Champaign News-Gazette Monday afternoon. “I’m really excited to get started at Illinois.”

A day later, Thomas is apparently no longer excited and no longer on his way to Champaign as he posted on Instagram that he is instead headed back to Miami.  Well, at least for now he is.

It doesn’t appear that Thomas ever actually enrolled in and attended classes at Illinois, which means he would be eligible to play for Miami in 2019.  Well, provided he actually sticks with this particular commitment this time around.

At the time of his departure/dismissal in November, Thomas was leading the Hurricanes in receptions (35) and receiving yards (563).  The sophomore’s 16.1 yards per reception were second on the team while his three touchdown receptions were tied for third.